MacGyver: Cigar Cutter – “If You Die, You’re Fired” (Review)

Lucas Till as MacGyver

This episode of MacGyver “Cigar Cutter” brings everything together in terms of the team and the now not so new leader Matty Webber. With her threat to Bozer, “If you die, you’re fired,” and her handy take down of “Dr. Zito: Webber has proven to be as full of compassion as she is Queen of the bad arse’s.

David Dastmalchian returns as Murdoc and he turns out to be a partner of “Mr. Organization” (the splendid William Mapother). The two men have a third member in their little team, a mercenary type who fakes his way in with a prosthetic mask. (Played by busy English actor Mark Sheppard, the role is pretty impressive considering he does not have that much screen time.)

The flashback sequence at the start mentions Patricia Thornton (Sandrine Holt) yet again and it is looking more and more like she will be popping up in a future episode, if not this season, then the next. Sidenote: MacGyver has already been given the green light for a second season. Fans are, no doubt, overjoyed, although the original MacGyver, Richard Dean Anderson, who nixed appearing on the reboot, will be less than impressed…

Regardless of the little things that still annoy (For example, the titles that have no apparent connection to the episodes…Did anyone else struggle and fail to spot a “cigar cutter?” Answers in the comment section below, please and thank you.) the show does keep getting better in terms of character dynamics.

Another annoying aspect of the show’s plot line is that Tony Stark robot with AI and a very similar English accent to the “metal man Friday” who became a “real boy” in the films….

Matty Webber has taken on the mantle of Phoenix big boss capably and this episode shows why she was hired. Tough, caring, and a damned good shot, Webber is now firmly in the status of regular, and beloved, cast member in the new re-imaging of the ’80’s favorite. Dalton keeps his end up with enough comedic soft shoe movements and Riley, now that that horrid hairdo is gone, is the official heart throb of the show.

Bozer, in this episode, finally gets some sign that Riley cares about him. Of course that only happens after the fake Dr. Zito stabs Wilt in the stomach but it is clear that MacGyver’s bestie’s heart still throbs for Riley.

Dalton managest to “do a MacGyver” (almost) and, with a little help from Riley, makes some and Mac, makes a bomb that blows up the wall to the servers.

Along side the main plot of Murdoc teaching an evil mercenary new tricks in order to kill off all of Phoenix, there is the “Mac’s dad is missing” storyline. It would be beyond cool if the original MacGyver (Anderson) appeared  as Poppa MacGyver but Anderson has pretty much stated that he will have nothing to do with the new show…

Leaving aside the idea of a cameo by the first Mac, this episode proved that Till has grown into the shoes worn by the first hero of the series and that fans love it almost, if not as much, as the original.

MacGyver airs Fridays on CBS. Tune an and see what you think about this new “Mac.”

Cast:

MacGyver: Compass – DNA (Review)

Lucas Till as MacGyver

“Compass” starts out with a bit of a disconnect by showing Bozer back in the field in the MacGyver teaser segment. Wilt made it pretty clear in an earlier episode that he preferred to stay back in the lab and would be doing so in the future.

The opening sequence had Jack and Mac in a garbage compactor and they were about to be crushed. While Dalton talks about Star Wars and the compactor scene, and solution in that film, Mac works out how they can really escape.

In the process, however, Jack is injured and later Matty questions whether or not Dalton should still be partnered with Mac. During the short conference, Mac learns that his best friend in Uni has been killed. He jets off to attend the funeral where he is met by Dalton.

Jack has his injured arm in a sling but he still manages to accompany his friend to the service. Later they spot someone taking pictures of the mourners and after some hacking by Riley, they learn that Mac’s friend Frankie is still alive.

Her project; a new DNA analyzer, has uncovered something that someone wants hidden. There are the usual MacGyver tricks and he even makes a centrifuge out of cardboard.  We learn that Frankie was a romance that he knew could never happen and that Matty really does care for Dalton.

On the romantic front, it appears that Bozer has to live with Riley falling for the Hawaiian Kalei that she met in the Hawaii Five-O crossover episode “Flashlight.” He is jealous of all the “text time” that the two are engaging in and later, after talking to Jack, decides to keep being friends with his crush.

This episode really brought nothing new to the table.  On the plus side, those annoying subtitled split screen “builds” have disappeared.  However, there is very little time spent with anything that Mac now manufactures for any particular storyline.

There needs to be some middle ground where we can actually see how clever MacGyver really is. Having other characters point out what he is making, in this episode it was Frankie who asked if he had really made a piece of lab equipment from a cardboard box, is going too much the other way.

MacGyver has always been about improvising and not using guns to take out the bad guys. Sure the series was annoying as hell in the beginning but with too much emphasis on what Mac was making but now it is beyond vague.

Complaints aside, the team are still working well together, Tristin Mays has been allowed to ditch that bird’s nest hairdo she was lumbered with in the beginning and Meredith Eaton has slid nicely into the position of severe but caring new boss at Phoenix.

Till and Eads are a respectable double act, although Eads manages to fit in well with whomever he works with, and Hires as Wilt feels as comfy as an old pair of shoes.  While the original MacGyver was less about teamwork and more about Mac’s going it alone, this new iteration is hitting the mark with a good cast and some standard scripts.

MacGyver airs Fridays on CBS. Head on over and check it out and see what you think. Good or mediocre?

Cast:

Guest starring Aly Michalka as Frankie and François Chau as Richard Sang.

MacGyver: Ruler – Thrown Under the Bus (Review)

Lucas Till as MacGyver

As opined in an earlier review, the specter of Patricia Thornton will not rest easy behind bars as she reaches out to endanger the entire team in MacGyver “Ruler.” In this episode, which takes place in “Amsterdam,” Mac and the entire team are in the field when they are thrown under the bus after a bomb they intercept explodes in the town “centrum.”

This is Boze’s first international field mission and it was supposed to be fairly simple and straightforward.  The group are put in jeopardy when the bomb they take from Olivia Prior explodes destroying property in the city. The CCTV footage in Amsterdam show all four operatives and the Dutch intelligence community and the cops are all after the team.

In the field, as the agents fend for themselves, we learn that Jack has an old girlfriend in Amsterdam and that he can speak Dutch and French. Boze can actually make passible prosthetics on the fly and that when the chips are down the “scientist” can be as brave as anyone on the team.

At the start of the episode Boze daydreams about saving the entire team while on assignment. He reluctantly reveals his aspirations to be a field operative to the robot that Mac built. Later, after almost dying in his first assignment, Wilt realizes that he is perfectly happy back in the lab.

This was an interesting episode. The sets all looked Dutch (Mike’s Film Talk would know, we lived there for some time) and the scenes were tightly filmed enough that there were no real “give-aways” as to where the location might actually be.

Apparently The Netherlands has increased their CCTV capability to match the paranoid extent of England’s CCTV coverage. In this storyline it seems that in Amsterdam the cameras are everywhere.  There is a smattering of Dutch spoken by the odd player and Christopher Heyerdahl does a brilliant job with his introductory line, as he enters the control room.

The only complaint about the language is when another actor talks of Schiphol Airport. They do not pronounce it properly. The Dutch basically growl the first part and no one, not even Heyerdahl say the word correctly.

The team manage to turn the tables on Harlan, who is the real bad guy here and escape. Boze tells the robot that he is pleased to be back with the geeks and alls well that ends well.

In terms of humor, this one delivered a number of chuckle worthy moments. Jack’s girlfriend and his previous CIA cover story, “Call me Bryce,” were amusing enough to make Dalton even more fun than usual.

Boze’s impromptu prosthetics, that began to melt off of Mac’s and Riley’s faces in front of the overly hot servers was clearly a nod to Inspector Clouseau  and his melting nose in the 1976 comedy “The Pink Panther Strikes Again.”

Both Mac’s oversized proboscis and Riley’s fake nose begin to fall apart as the two operatives sweat buckets trying to recover incrimination footage that Harlan’s agents covered up. It was an almost perfect moment of strained comedy as the two race to avoid detection.

(Ironically, Boze does save the day just as he did in his daydream by distracting the Dutch cops who are closing in on his two friends.)

While “Ruler” was entertaining it has to be mentioned that the robot, with its “Jarvis” type delivery a’la Iron Man, is annoying. Another one of those “points off for lack of originality” moments. The AI concept with an English butler character as the robotic sidekick has been done before.

MacGyver airs Fridays on CBS. Head on over and catch this one. The new boss, so different from the old one, has well and truly settled in and the team are bonding very well. This re-imaging is well worth a look.

Cast:

Guest starring Christopher Heyerdahl as Harlan Wolff, Svetlana Efremova as Olivia Prior and Deborah Mace as Jenaveev.

Timeless: The Red Scare – Broken (Review)

 Timeless - Season 1

Timeless “The Red Scare” manages to deliver a triple whammy where Lucy diagnoses Flynn as being broken and it looks like he is not the only one is issues. By the end of the episode, Jiya has some sort of time travel glitch and Preston discovers that her mum was a Rittenhouse agent all along.

Flynn is also arrested by Agent Christopher. “But he is a terrorist,” she tells Lucy as the furious man so desperate to save his wife and child is led away by soldiers. Lucy is also upset as Flynn was on his way to the last ever mission in the mothership.

For the more political viewers, this episode, which featured the infamous “better dead than red” Senator Joe McCarthy, seemed to draw a perfectly clear parallel to the new POTUS. The line about the press seemed spot on, another power mad individual claiming that the press lie…

There was also the reminder that McCarthy was, underneath it all, a bully.

The main plot line had Lucy meeting her “in the closet” grandfather and recruiting him to the cause of defeating Rittenhouse. She asks him to become a double agent. His efforts, along with those of Connor Mason who reveals to Christopher that he has been playing the long game, allow the Rittenhouse organization to be gutted.

However…

As we learn in the closing moments of the episode, Rittenhouse may have been down but they are not out. They have gained control of the mothership, now being piloted by Emma who was hiding out in the old west earlier, and are on their way to change history.

It also becomes clear just what Rittenhouse and its members suffer from, as compared to Lucy, Wyatt, Rufus and Flynn, they have no empathy, passion or even the most basic of emotions. When Lucy tells her mother that she will be going back after Amy, her missing sister, the reaction she gets is telling.

“Mom” reveals that she is part of the Rittenhouse machine and that no one cares about a missing girl that only Lucy knows about. The shock on Preston’s face is clear, not just at the news that her mother is part of the problem but that she is so cold and unmoved about Amy’s plight.

While Flynn’s arrest is upsetting, as is Lucy’s learning that her mother was in on the whole thing all along, the interesting thing about this episode has to do with Jiya’s “vision.”

Was Jiya being the fourth in the machine result in her being able to time travel without a device? Or since the issues have to do with her eyes, can she see the past? (Her glance at the Golden Gate Bridge showed the thing under construction. While this could mean a sort of time travel glitch, one that Rufus was there for, it could also be a premonition of sorts. A glimpse into where the team will be heading next, if the network continues with the show…)

One possible plot hole was the scene where Emma heads into the mothership to fly that “final” Rittenhouse mission. Whitmore had hidden back in the old west because she learned what the organization was up to. At least this was what she told Flynn when he encountered her in episode 12.

However, Timeless has proven time and again that its history and the storyline of the series are fluid. The time line began fluctuating from that very first episode where the team’s actions doomed Lucy’s sister Amy to being blinked right out of existence.

The first story, that dealt with the Hindenburg, also revealed that some things cannot be changed and some people die regardless what our heroes do in their missions. (Later Wyatt finds out that his wife died despite his actions, a lesson that Flynn refuses to acknowledge as he tries again and again to save his wife and child.)

Timeless has been a good ride so far and hopefully NBC will bring the series back for a second outing. The show finished out its season with an average of 4.622 million viewers per episode and 1.10 of its target demographic.

What do you think should Timeless get another season?

Cast:

Santa Clarita Diet: We Can Kill People – Cole (Review)

Drew Barrymore in Santa Clarita Diet

Episode three of Santa Clarita Diet “We Can Kill People” jumps things into high gear as Sheila’s appetite gets almost out of control. It has been days since she ate parts of Gary. (She moans about all the meat that she wasted to Joel who replies that there was over 150 pounds of Gary left, there was no way she could have polished the new realtor off.)

The couple decide that since the meat must be fresh, it is now okay to kill people who are evil or the dregs of society. Meanwhile Dan is still sniffing around and asking questions about that ant spray.

Abby and Eric decide to help Sarah take revenge on Cole after he dumps the teenager. He is a guy who sells pot to minors, according to Sarah and while the kids plan their revenge, Joel and Sheila decide that the “drug dealer” and “pedophile” will be the perfect snack to end Sheila’s enforced diet.

This episode of Santa Clarita Diet was a real treat. The sight of the real estate couple dressed in clear rain macs, with hoods and rubber gloves, was funny but not as funny as Joel bonding with Sheila’s not so “happy meal.” He learns that Cole sells great weed and that he is not a “pedo” and that he dumped Sarah when he found out she was not 21.

After Joel and Sheila let Cole go, Abby and her friends stage a commando type raid on Cole’s house, where Abby dons a gas mask and rescues the blue sweater she bought her BFF Sarah. Out of the three main characters, Abby is turning out to be the coolest in a crisis.

Her parents continue to adapt to their new lifestyle. Sheila realizes that  frozen food is almost as good as fresh and she decides that they will buy a new freezer to keep her next meal in. She can then carve off what she needs with less waste.

Another comic highlight of the episode has Sheila attacking the douchebag driver of the car that Joel bumps into. The man is aggressive and foul and Sheila leaps on him in mid-rant and bites out his carotid artery.

While it still seems like Dan, the policeman neighbor who is far too interested in what Joel was spraying on his lawn, could be in-line to be a meal for Sheila, the newest victim may keep him alive that little bit longer.

Santa Clarita Diet has managed to mix slapstick type comedy with odd and quirky. It also gives us a chance to laugh at incongruity of the situation. Joel’s calm, yet glassy-eyed, acceptance of his wife’s new condition as a zombie and Abby’s confidence in going along for the ride.

The series is on Netflix, as an original offering and can be streamed or downloaded to watch offline.  The show’s creator; Victor Fresco, has knocked it out of the park with this one and this comedy horror is genuinely funny. Head on over and check this one out. 

Cast:

Guest starring Matt O’Leary as Cole, Kaylee Bryant as Sarah and Richard T. Jones as Rick